Should you buy ERP software directly from ERP vendors or through a reseller? While purchasing ERP software directly from the vendor may seem like the most straightforward option, partnering with an ERP reseller or partner (the term we prefer) can provide a range of benefits. Here we outline five benefits companies can realize by partnering with a reseller.
There’s a pervasive falsehood that purchasing directly from ERP vendors “cuts out the middleman” and in doing so, saves money. The reality is that buying and implementing through an ERP partner can be more cost-effective than purchasing the software directly from the vendor. ERP vendors may often offer bundled solutions that include software and implementation services that seem attractive until you discover what implementation means to the vendor.
We routinely hear from businesses who received what they call “out-of-the-box” or “canned” implementation services. Yes, the software is up and running, but it has not been configured and optimized for the individual company. Sometimes they throw in freebies — other applications you don’t need but will bill for upon licensing renewal.
Conversely, we provide implementation quotes that consider each client’s unique and specific needs. We also won’t recommend applications or services you don’t need. We believe that ERP is a long-term investment. We help clients get the essentials up and running smoothly, then add additional functionality and efficiency tools to align with your changing needs. More often than not, this saves our clients money compared to buying directly from the vendor.
Real-world business expertise
A software vendor’s goal is to sell their software. So, they train their employees to understand how the software works and its many features and options. In contrast, strong ERP partners are business specialists first. Most of us have worked in and with businesses for our entire careers — typically with more than one ERP application. Along the way, we’ve gained industry expertise and real-world experience developing best practice approaches.
So, when you purchase through a partner like BT Partners, you get more than product expertise. You gain access to a team of business, financial management, and technology experts who can provide guidance and support through the implementation process and beyond. Where a vendor can configure the software for “a distributor,” for example, a partner can configure the software to meet the unique needs of your business, and continue to work with you as things change.
Access to the ecosystem
Sage Intacct is often called a best-of-breed financial management/ERP solution. It focuses on delivering unequaled core accounting functionality and incorporating marketplace (ISV) applications into its ecosystem to provide specialized functionality. Marketplace applications are independent of the Software vendor and usually not directly supported by the vendor. While Software vendors ensure that marketplace offerings undergo a technical and general application review so the applications comply with the integration framework, Software vendors don’t spend much time or effort evaluating and use-case testing these third-party applications. As an ERP partner, we do.
We research, evaluate, and test every ISV application we recommend. We won’t recommend an application we don’t feel fits the best-of-breed philosophy. Additionally, because of our experience with each application we recommend, we can optimize the integration and implementation, speeding up your return on investment. We also have relationships with ISV partners that can help our clients get more out of their entire tech stack over the long run.
Building personal relationships is the primary differentiator between a vendor and a partner. ERP vendors support the product. ERP partners support the organization that uses the product.
If you purchase directly from a vendor, it’s unlikely you’ll ever hear from the sales team again. First, they’ll pass you to implementers, and when they’re done, you’ll get support through established support channels. If you felt you were promised some bit of functionality in the sales process and didn’t find it realized in the implementation, you’ll have little recourse.
When you contact our support services, you’ll speak to someone who knows who you are and can understand the context of your questions — leading to speedy, frustration-free resolutions. You’ll likely speak to one of the individuals involved in the sales and implementation cycles. We don’t draw arbitrary distinctions such as “post-implementation” that leave clients wondering where they fit and whom to point the finger at. You just want your questions answered by someone who can feel your pain, so that’s what we do.
Working with an ERP partner, your business gains a strategic partnership that goes beyond the purchase and implementation of an ERP system. Partners can provide ongoing support, training, and advice to help your business optimize its operations and improve the bottom line. They can also provide valuable insights into industry best practices, emerging trends, and new technologies that help your business stay ahead of the curve.
As an ERP partner, BT Partners doesn’t make the ERP and accounting system we sell, but we do make it better. That might sound overly confident, but we can back up the claim. Sage tracks net promoter scores (NPS) for its partners — and itself. The partner channel routinely scores higher than Sage in these surveys. We think we know why, and it’s not because Sage doesn’t provide good customer service — because they do. We believe it’s because, as partners, our primary focus is not on the sale. Instead, our primary focus is creating long-term relationships with the companies and the individuals we work with. Often those relationships span decades and involve more than one ERP implementation.